Half-and-Half

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Gwathdraug
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Half-and-Half

Post by Gwathdraug »

South West England, Bristol: The Cafe, Brycgstove

There was no bell over the entrance but the long, deep creak of the door moving from where it sat a miser in its frame was loud enough to cut above the din of the busy street outside straight into the small cafe itself. Ceiling fans rolled drolly, the motion reflected as flickering light across worn-but-polished wood paneling, as blaring A/C units went to battle with both the crackling flames inside the stone block of a fireplace and the stiff heat of the summer morning. The owner, dressed more like a bartender than anything else, leaned against the wall to the kitchen his soft voice an undecipherable murmur as he spoke with a waitress dressed much the same as himself. The few customers about where spread all about pondering their ways through late breakfasts or an earlier treat of pre-lunch cake.

The owner, Henrique Stevenson, looked up from his conversation as the door opened. His teeth where a flash of white against dark skin as he smiled. "L.J. the devil's brought you back to my door then have they?" His was soft was still a silken rasp as it managed to fill the entire space about him without booming.

Lyra couldn't decide between a nod and a shrug as she closed the door behind her. Instead the large woman snorted affectionately. "If you hug me I'll put you through your kitchen wall Henri. I've sweat enough for a storm just walking the crowds today."

"It is midsummer and you are wearing a duffel coat." Henri's smile dropped to a teasing grin as he raised an eyebrow to his statement.

Pulling her hands from her pockets Lyra calmly stripped off her dark leather gloves. "It is midsummer and you have a fire running at ten in the morning."

"But of course!" With a laugh Henri closed the rest of the distance between them. "And the seat right in front is yours as always." Leaning in closer the man's voice dropped to a whisper. "Is today for business or pleasure?"

"I'm being visible today so-" Lyra slapped her gloves lightly against the shorter man's shoulder. "-flip a coin and maybe you can tell me?" With a snort and a shake of his head Henri made his way back towards the kitchen.

Stuffing her gloves in her coat pocket Lyra walked towards a small table with space for two directly besides the fireplace. The waitress following behind her as their paths crossed. Looking towards the young woman as she threw her coat off - revealing a tight athletic shirt beneath and arms crossed with longer and more scars than just accidents would explain - and over the back of her chair Lyra smiled encouragingly. Erica, the waitress didn't like to speak if she didn't have to, but her own smile in return was a simple delight.

"A cup of the assam when you could - I don't feel like I've had much of a start to the day yet."

With a quick nod Erica was gone. Lyra, pulling her braid of brown hair over one shoulder, sat and leaned heavily into her chair. Her seat was closest to the fire, but was still far more comfortable than the struggling A/C could account for if you didn't also factor in that Henrique Stevenson, amateur confectioner, was also a retired but notable enchanter. Lyra and the grey haired proprietor had known each other for some time though, and with a small smirk, she wondered if he had practiced enough recently to be able to make some of the more complicated cakes listed on the slim menu in front of her.

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Kokuten
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Re: Half-and-Half

Post by Kokuten »

Not long after Lyra had taken her seat, another patron walked in through the doorway almost stumbling through from outside. He was a pitiful looking creature, dappled with sweat against a frame that looked like it had skipped a few breakfasts, maybe even a lunch. His modest dress, a vest and a collared shirt, didn't chalk up to much, but he wore nice shoes.

Green eyes searched perilously around the small room, as if he had considered turning about and leaving. After a moment or two of wavering, he took himself and his little messenger bag into the light. There was a faint look on his face, as though he wouldn't be able to stand for very long.

That, and his left sleeve was tied off at the shoulder, as if he had lost the arm on the way there.

"Excuse me, I'm terribly sorry," chimed the fellow apologetically to Henrique, "my first time here. I've just walked in staring at my watch, but... Ah."

Percival Caxton seemed to scan about the place, before looking back to the two employees, "Is it seat yourself? Do we order at the counter?"
Last edited by Kokuten on Tue Jul 07, 2020 6:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Gwathdraug
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Re: Half-and-Half

Post by Gwathdraug »

"Seat yourself? Absolutely n-" Henrique's voice was half jovial, half reproach as he turned towards Percy. "-mon cher!" The dark skinned man's voice rose as he turned and took in how haggard the welshman appeared. Blinking rapidly Henri pulled a pair of thin spectacles from his vest and immediately began to hover in orbit around his latest customer. "More waif than - no, no need to be rude - Can I put hands-" The cafe owner's rapid fire observations came about as he flowed closer and then further from Percy - each movement predicated by a nod or shake of his head. "No - no, course not - Fire! You need fire lad, a good seat, and a good meal." Each spoken part of the list was reinforced with an authoritative nod and twinkling eyes.

"No trouble will follow you here, you have my word to that!" Henrique was hollering now as he backpedaled purposefully towards the entrance of his kitchen. Erica just barely passing in the space behind him holding onto the cup of tea Lyra had ordered. "Eri!" Henri's attention latched onto his waitress. "Eri take the young man by the fire - Lyra shouldn't mind and no trouble will come to him that way!"

Erica, looking somewhat anxious but not surprised, turned towards Percy and tilted her head and shoulders in a slight bow. She opened her mouth to speak but stopped herself short instead gesturing towards Lyra's table with the saucer and cup she was carrying. When Percy's attention was turned away from her and on the table by the fire instead he could hear the waitress quickly whisper, "if you would." Then Erica was past Percy, striding purposefully forward with the expectation he would follow.

As the pair arrived at Lyra's table the woman's face was set in a relaxed smile. "Is Henri over stepping his bounds again Erica?" The waitress, her head down and avoiding eye contact, only responded by placing down first a napkin then the saucer and cup with careful, deliberate motions. "Don't let him worry you, nothing happens here I can't handle." As Lyra's attention turned to Percy she leaned back in her chair and her face shifted to be placidly inexpressive. "Please. Sit. I'd never hear the end of it if you didn't - the old man's a wizard in the kitchen but a terrible gossip otherwise."

"A coffee for our friend, Erica. Two sugars and plenty of creme should give his strength something to chew on."

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Kokuten
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Re: Half-and-Half

Post by Kokuten »

Percival found himself disarmed, rather handily, at Henrique's forwardness. Instead of shying away at his attentions, the small man allowed the host to ebb and swell at him until he decided to take him to a table. He had come to learn that it was easier to just ride the wave in these things. Dutifully he followed Henrique, who then passed him off to Erica.

The two of them exchanged muffled greetings that boiled down to little bows, and they walked over to find the man a seat by the fire. Looking towards one of the seats under a ceiling fan was the only sign of objection Percy showed in all of this. Despite the look, he tailed the waitress seating like a decent patron would and spent a moment staring at the fire. A strange light took to the man's eyes, but he shook it when Lyra began to speak.

Dour eyes looked over at the powerful woman, the two were opposites, physically at least. Percy had the look of someone who could waste away, whereas Lyra appeared the type who could waste other people with little effort. He kept a sheepish look on his face as it was revealed he was sharing the table with someone else.

"Frightfully sorry for the intrusion, miss. Ah yes, that coffee would be terribly good right now, I'll take that." assented Percival to the beverage, and then set himself down into the chair. He thanked Erica for seating him and went about placing his bag on the floor. "I believe it was Lyra? I'm sorry. The man up front -- I suppose his name was Henri -- said you wouldn't mind too much. You see I'm terribly partial to solace, myself; but I'm incredibly adverse to inconvenience. To others, particularly. Makes life quite hard. Ah. I apologize, I'm rambling. I know your name, but you don't know my mine. My manners. I'm Percival. Percival Caxton. Pleasure to share the table with you."

The one hand he had came across for a shake. He was harmlessly awkward, yet surprisingly pleasant. "No worries, it won't fall off, firmly attached. Ha ha."

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Gwathdraug
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Re: Half-and-Half

Post by Gwathdraug »

"Lyra Valsted." Lyra's grip as she shook Percy's hand was strong, but not punishing. "And from a stranger to a stranger, the deflecting humour is hardly necessary - and if it ever is, well-" The hard line of a frown crossed the woman's face, her eyes a darkened storm, before she simply shrugged and leaned back in her chair smiling once more. "Ah-heh. It'll have to be my pardon this time if you don't mind - old angers and all that if you understand?"

The muscular woman's smile only hooked across half her face, a wry feeling of disappointment towards herself clearly displayed. Waving one hand in front of her, as if she was striking at her own words Lyra reached behind her to pull an electronic reader from her coat. "Nevermind that. Solace can be just as available with two as with one - do stay at least to enjoy the coffee though Mr. Caxton."

With her words said Lyra took a small sip of her tea as her attention turned towards the reader she held, her eyes tracking slowly back and forth as she read from the screen.

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Kokuten
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Re: Half-and-Half

Post by Kokuten »

There was something in Percival's eyes that was taken by the way Lyra spoke. He stared at her intently as she talked in a way both alien and strangely familiar to him. Perhaps it was that need to shelter and hide what she was truly feeling, or the fact that she did a poor job of hiding those emotions. Maybe it was the sense of drama, that little bit of flair.

Maybe it was her face, the features he already knew despite only meeting Lyra for the first time. The way she forced a smile disarmed him a bit, and he stared for much longer than necessary.

How many smiles has Riley been forcing?

He blinked, realizing how distracted he had become. Just as she had pulled herself away to go to her reading, Percival went to his bag and pulled out a little book. The item was leather bound, and looked like a small scheduler. The man spent a couple of minutes ticking away at a few notes. The words were a strange gibberish, comprised of cyrillic letters, and he studied them closely. Outwardly he looked a bit uncomfortable, and began tapping his finger against the table.

This continued until his coffee came, to which he thanked Erica for; the two of them exchanging muted, polite bows. He turned back to Lyra, blowing on his brew and then taking a deep sip before breaking the silence.

"You know -- and this may be terribly rude -- but it has been eating at me for the past couple of minutes," started Percival, "Are you from Newfoundland? You look just like my sister. She's adopted, you know, the sweetest thing, but -- and this is the weirdest part -- you're the spitting image of her, if not a little taller."

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Gwathdraug
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Re: Half-and-Half

Post by Gwathdraug »

Lyra's eyes stopped moving, but she didn't shift herself any further to look towards Percy. "Don't I hear one part of that more than the other?" The question was murmured and capped by a small laugh before Lyra slipped her reader back away and turned her attention back towards her guest. "Look like I grew up by the sea do I?" Moving her saucer and tea cup to the side, the brunette rested one elbow against the table and cupped her chin in her hand - two fingers against her cheekbone. Her face overall was placid, but with just a hint of amusement - a slight crinkle of the skin round the eyes, a small spark to the grey eyes themselves - that Percy, partial to solace as he had introduced himself, was the one to break the silence. "You'd be right if that was the thought - I was a bit far from Canada though. Now-" The hand by Lyra's face drifted down to almost cover her mouth. "-most people think I'm trying to have a laugh, but the truth is I grew up in the Adana Province in Turkey. We didn't have a family home there or anything, but housing came through one of my parent's business arrangements." Scratching at her chin, Lyra thought for a moment and then laughed - more through her nose than any loud sound. "I... didn't hate it, but it was a demanding way to live and I don't think I would have wished it on a sibling if I did have one."

Looking down for a moment Lyra toyed with her tea cup, the sparse few leaves at the bottom dancing as she swirled the liquid inside the cup.

"Could just be this sister of yours is stuck on the mind." Lyra didn't look up as she spoke at first but, after a short moment, she returned her teacup back to its saucer and her gaze rose to meet with Percy's. "She isn't causing you any trouble is she?"

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Kokuten
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Re: Half-and-Half

Post by Kokuten »

"Oh, she's terrible," moaned Percival with a small sense of the dramatic and gave a playfully annoyed wave with his one hand. His smile concealed the calculations in his mind, considering the notes he had reviewed prior to the question. The little, enciphered ledger on the table corresponded to the words Lyra said, at least loosely, and that brought his mind some comfort. "Just a regular leaf on the wind, you see. I can't honestly keep track of her. Not fair to say, as I had been out of the country for a few years, but she's into all sorts of shenanigans these days."

There was a sad little smile on his face as he considered the fire, "I feel it's my fault, considering I'm the older brother. The older brother is responsible for the little siblings. That's their duty. So you must imagine the effect on my constitution when I find out the trouble she gets into. The trouble that seems to follow her around. The people that intend to cause her trouble."

Percival pulled out his phone, and tapped along it with a careful finger, "Oh if you just saw her, you'd know what I mean. Look at this bucket of mishaps."

Like a tired parent, or a lonely old man with no one to share stories with, he showed Lyra a picture of Riley. It was actually a picture of both of them, at what looked like a park. The Caxton in the picture was giving the camera an exasperated look, while Riley was hanging upside down off a tree branch, fighting off resident squirrels from what must have been a negotiation gone wrong. "Mum asked how we were, and we happened to be going through this fiasco."

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Gwathdraug
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Re: Half-and-Half

Post by Gwathdraug »

"Hmmmmmm." Lyra hummed in appreciation as she took the time to actually look at the picture Percy's was sharing with genuine interest. "It's good to have parents that care." As she spoke the brunette looked away from their table, her face falling into a rueful expression that was neither smile nor frown. One of her hands rubbed absent mindedly at a tense shoulder until the large woman suddenly shook her self and blinked. "My apologies, responsibility - duty - they're old subjects my mind takes to like a field, a fire, and a drought."

"Obligation without affection isn't- no, sorry-" Lyra seemed almost ready to fidget as she kept speaking, but instead held up her hand - the index finger pointed upwards like an exclamation. "-you don't need to be bored by all that. You two are in Japan in that picture, right? Give me one moment-"

Lyra was suddenly standing, her braid brushed back behind her shoulder, and with a few steps was standing almost on Percy's side of the table. Resting her left hand on the table - her smallest finger barely brushing against her guest's ledger - the muscular woman raised her other arm in the air to catch Erica's attention. As quick as her sudden motion had started, Lyra was sitting back down again.

"Needed a refill." Lyra lifted her teacup, the drink inside having cooled, as evidence. The woman had not once show any interest in the small book Percy had absently busied himself with, but the alchemist's ledger was now currently and completely magically inert. "I've never been to Japan if you don't mind sharing. Though-" Lyra's smile now seemed completely natural on her face - observant, amused, a dash predatory - as she spun her menu around and slid it across the table next to Percy's book. "-I'm just getting Eri to bring me some eggs, but her and Henri make a damn fine sweet. I always recommend the Black Forest gâteau, but their English recipes are just as good."

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Kokuten
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Re: Half-and-Half

Post by Kokuten »

"Lived there for a large portion of my life."

Whoosh! The book hissed as it went into the fire. In almost as natural an action as adding another log to the rumbling flames, his little desk reference went sizzling away. The motion was not subtle, nor was it even particularly appropriate, but as soon as he had lobbed it he rested his chin back on his hand in a smooth motion. Lyra found in that moment that Percy's eyes had an unearthly glow deep within them, which turned to watch the book burn

"Moved there from Wales with the family about ten years ago, about when I met my sister as well," mentioned Percival, a thoughtful smile spreading on his face. He spoke as an open book to a reader, much unlike his notes, which were reducing rapidly. "We grew up there, in our more adult years. So we've stayed around. I went to university in Todai, actually. Met some of my dearest friends there. Not to say I had nothing keeping my heart in Wales, but you know there's always something about moving to a new country that gives you a fresh start. I suppose that's why she was there, even as young as she was, my sister. Her poor father was her only family, so we took her in."

He paused, considering the menu for a moment, as if he had just seen it. Then his eyes opened up again in realization, throwing up his hand in apology. "Oh! I've just been babbling about myself. I apologize, you asked about Japan. Japan's lovely if you can come to assimilate well with the people, they'll never accept you entirely, but everyone has a certain tolerance, y'know. Can't tell you how many times people have confused me for an American. Public transit is great out there. Never really cared for trains until I moved to Japan, but you can see quite a few things in a short amount of time. That, and the convenience store food is quite amazing."

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